REX SF34 near Sydney on Nov 25th 2011, smartphone battery runaway

Last Update: May 4, 2012 / 10:39:58 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 25, 2011

Airline
REX

Aircraft Registration
C-FACD

Aircraft Type
SAAB 340

ICAO Type Designator
SF34

CT scan image, screw circled (Photo: ATSB)The Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) released their final report concluding the probable causes of the incident were:

- During repair work at an unauthorised maintenance facility, a screw was misplaced in the mobile telephone battery bay.

- The screw caused mechanical damage to the battery which resulted in an internal short circuit and rapid heating.

- The rapid internal heating within the mobile telephone battery triggered a thermal runaway event, producing a large amount of heating and associated smoke.

The ATSB reported that the aircraft had landed and was taxiing towards the gate when the flight attendant noticed smoke coming from near seat 3A and instructed the passenger seated in seat 3A to throw the source of the smoke into the aisle. The flight attendant subsequently discharged a fire extinguisher onto the source of the smoke, which was later identified a mobile phone. Several minutes later the smoke cleared.

The owner of the mobile phone had purchased the device about one year prior to the incident, about 6 months prior to the incident the mobile phone had to be repaired for a broken screen, the mobile phone was serviced by a facility not authorised by the manufacturer, the owner could not remember where the phone had been serviced.

A first examination of the phone revealed a screw was missing from the 30pin connector at the base of the phone. The screw thread socket was found in good condition.

X-ray examination revealed a screw in the battery section.

The phone was then taken to a specialised facility for a two stage examination via a CT scan in the first non-destructive stage and dismantling and destructive examination in stage 2.

The facility determined the Lithium-Ion battery of the phone had experienced a thermal runaway, the screw found in the battery compartment was most likely the screw missing from the connector, one screw fastening the main circuit board was missing, two screws fastening a flexible cable were incorrectly installed, the main circuit board flexible cable was disturbed, two liquid contact indicators were missing and a metal clip near the battery was deformed. Over time the screw in the battery compartment caused mechanical damage to the battery resulting in an internal short circuit, which led to the thermal runaway.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 25, 2011

Airline
REX

Aircraft Registration
C-FACD

Aircraft Type
SAAB 340

ICAO Type Designator
SF34

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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